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New Fix for Aortic Arch Aneurysm

Repairs life-threatening bulge in part of artery that carries blood to head, body

THURSDAY, Oct. 16, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A new technique to repair aortic arch aneurysm has been developed by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) vascular surgeons.

The technique was used in a first-of-its-kind operation to repair a life-threatening aneurysm in a person's aortic arch, which carries blood from the heart to the head and body. Aortic aneurysm refers to a bulging out of the walls of the aorta. Eventually, that bulge bursts, often leading to a fatal bleeding episode.

This new technique involves a wire-thin catheter that's used to insert a specially designed graft (also called a stentgraft) through the right carotid artery on the side of the neck. The graft is a fabric tube that incorporates metallic threads that provide structural support to the aorta.

The stentgraft is guided to the aortic arch and then expanded to reinforce and reline the interior walls of the aortic arch.

The technique is outlined in the October issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery.

"While stentgrafts are now commonly used to treat aneurysms of the aorta within the abdomen, using stentgrafts to treat aneurysms of the aortic arch has presented special problems because of its large size, curved shape and its critical branches that supply blood flow to the brain," lead author Dr. Darren Schneider, a UCSF vascular surgeon, says in a prepared statement.

"In particular, we had to develop a device capable of repairing the aorta without hampering the blood flow through blood vessels that branch out from the aortic arch to supply blood to the brain and arms," Schneider says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about aneurysms.

SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release, Oct. 14, 2003
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